Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has the power to make sweet nothings seem profound, and he did so again earlier this week.
Durant is fresh off a remarkable playoff run and now plays a starring role for Team USA men’s basketball at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He served notice to the rest of the NBA that he is still one of the very best players in the world, having nearly led a depleted Nets squad past the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
A healthier Nets team will look to run it back next season, with Durant leading the way alongside Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Yet, Durant’s comments served as a reminder that the 2021-22 campaign represents the last chance for Brooklyn’s “Big Three” to win a title together.
Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden are all eligible for extensions
The Nets have an excellent opportunity to secure their future by inking the three superstars to contract extensions, which they can do once the calendar turns to August. However, doing so comes at a high cost.
Should Brooklyn extend all of Durant, Irving, and Harden, it could dish out a whopping $460 million in financial commitments. The three stars could certainly take less money if they want to play together while still affording the Nets the chance to build a roster around them. That has typically been a strategy used by the Miami Heat and super teams of old.
Still, it bears noting the dollars are a massive consideration for the team and each of the three players. Is it possible the financials will force hard decisions for the Nets and their “Big Three”?
Kevin Durant thinks his star teammates will make the best decision for themselves
Kevin Durant might be focused on winning the gold medal in Tokyo, but he also has an eye toward the future.
Brian Lewis of the New York Post asked Durant about impending extension talks and whether all of Brooklyn’s “Big Three” were on the same page. The former league MVP said he, Irving, and Harden all enjoy playing together.
“[You] like being in that environment, first of all,” Durant told the New York Post. “You enjoy playing the game, that’s the most important thing. I think we all three enjoy playing with each other.”
While this statement might sound encouraging to Nets fans, Durant also acknowledged everyone has different priorities.
“But [contracts are] a personal thing, and guys are different,” Durant told the Post. “I’m sure when the time is right I’m sure we’ll all make the right decision for ourselves.”
This might seem like an obvious assertion, and it is in many respects. Still, Durant’s words seem to carry more gravity in this instance because he, Irving, and Harden are all very unique and singular individuals.
Will the “Big 3” buy in?
Ultimately, the decisions will come down to how comfortable the superstar trio feels tying their respective futures together.
Durant feels they all enjoy playing together, and that certainly may be the case. Realistically, though, the holy triumvirate seldomly shared the floor.
Brooklyn’s “Big Three” only suited up together for 13 games, including playoffs. The Nets were 10-3 in those games, so they had ample success. That said, it’s a small enough sample size to wonder whether the experiment can work in the long term.
Maybe the “right” decision is the Nets agreeing to terms with all three guys. Alternatively, perhaps there is a little hesitation from any of the “Big Three” in making such a binding decision for the future.
If nothing else, this summer should speak volumes about the direction of the Nets franchise.